A Smartphone Doesn't Make You Smart

Recently Apple released the iPhone 11 Pro, the latest in a series of what are called “smart phones.” Amazon has developed a product that they term “smart glasses,” a pair of glasses that look nearly identical to a normal pair but allow the wearer to speak to and hear a virtual assistant from anywhere. A few years ago, Coca-Cola bought the rights to a brand of bottled water called “Smart Water.” If you put all of that together – a guy with a smart phone, wearing smart glasses, and drinking smart water – you would think he was smart! Our society is all about image, and one thing that is valued is knowledge. If someone looks smart and sounds smart, he or she will be revered by many people.

However, looks and sounds can be deceiving. Our knowledge needs to be rooted in scripture. The proverb writer advises his reader to pursue knowledge (23:2). Peter instructs the growing Christian by saying, “add to your virtue knowledge” (2 Peter 1:5).

Knowledge comes through an honest study of God’s word. Knowledge does not continue to be a miraculous spiritual gift. Scripture suggests that at one time knowledge was such a gift (1 Corinthians 12:4-10). In the Old Testament, prophets were given knowledge directly from God. John told His disciples that the Helper, the Holy Spirit, would teach them all things ( John 14:26). New Testament writers state explicitly that their knowledge came from the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:20-21). Early church leaders knew things that they would not have known without a miraculous gift (Acts 5:3). However, miraculous spiritual gifts have been done away with because they are no longer needed. We have the fully revealed word of God (1 Corinthians 13:8-12). In today’s world, knowledge is acquired through the word (2 Timothy 2:15).

Godly knowledge leads to godly application. Learning God’s will without practicing it has no real value. Paul said that knowledge alone would puff someone up (1 Corinthians 8:1). Some use their knowledge to engage in fruitless disputes (2 Timothy 2:14, 16, 23). Some use their knowledge to push self-willed opinions (Titus 3:9-11). Some think they have knowledge, but it is not biblical ( John 5:37-40). Those who have knowledge but do not practice the truth are fools who are deceiving themselves (Matthew 7:24-27; James 1:22-24). Furthermore, such individuals are in grave danger (2 Peter 2:21: Hebrews 10:26-30). True biblical knowledge gives us the ability to discern between good and evil (Hebrews 5:14). Such knowledge should lead to spiritual maturity (2 Peter 3:18; Colossians 1:9-12; 2 Timothy 3:13).

A lack of knowledge leads to spiritual destruction. A lack of knowledge leads to sin. This happened to the children of Israel (Hosea 4:1-2). In our former state as unbelievers, our ignorance led us to sin (1 Peter 1:14: Ephesians 4:17-18). Without knowledge, we are not able to successfully fight against the enemy (Ephesians 4:14). Peter emphasized knowledge in 2 Peter 1 because he wanted the brethren to be able to tell the difference between the truth and what the false teachers proclaimed (2 Peter 2:1-3, 17-19). He even warned that some would twist the scriptures (2 Peter 3:14-16)! However, a knowledge that is rooted in the scripture and applied in our daily lives will enable us to grow in the Lord, regardless of what anyone else says or does (2 Peter 3:17-18).

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